Mencius. Book IV: Lî Lâu. Part I. Chapter III.

Legge's summary: The importance to all, and specifically to rulers, of exercizing benevolence.

1. Mencius said, 'It was by benevolence that the three dynasties gained the throne, and by not being benevolent that they lost it.

2. 'It is by the same means that the decaying and flourishing, the preservation and perishing, of States are determined.

3. 'If the sovereign be not benevolent, be cannot preserve the throne from passing from him. If the Head of a State be not benevolent, he cannot preserve his rule. If a high noble or great officer be not benevolent, he cannot preserve his ancestral temple. If a scholar or common man be not benevolent, be cannot preserve his four limbs.

4. 'Now they hate death and ruin, and yet delight in being not benevolent;-- this is like hating to be drunk, and yet being strong to drink wine!

Previous chapter   main Mencius node   Next chapter

Translated by James Legge, published in 1861 and revised for publication in 1895. Prepared as etext by Stephen R. McIntyre. Noded by schist. Please msg schist if you have suggestions for useful hard-links.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.